Category: Projects

Christmas Card Scrapbook

Ever wonder what to do with all the adorable photo Christmas cards you receive every year? I can’t bear to throw away friends’ and family’s cards, not only because I’m so sentimental (and a tiny bit of a hoarder) but also because I know how much time & effort (not to mention cash) is spent on them. I will admit though, I don’t always keep the cards that don’t have photos (sorry!), which is down to only about 10% of them. And I love to look back and see how much has changed: kids have grown, new babies have been added, hairstyles are different and in some cases spouses replaced! I’ve been saving them for over 20 years and there are some really good ones in my stash (definitely rehearsal-dinner-bribing-worthy!)! The cards themselves have improved a thousand percent. Remember when you’d have to print your photos and stick them either into or on top of the cards? That was a project of gigantic proportions that would take me days even with a small assembly line. Thank you, technology!

For the last few years I’ve been saving and organizing the cards into mini Christmas card scrapbooks. It’s quick, easy, inexpensive, takes up very little room and you’ll have all your cards in one place. The cover of the mini book will announce the year of the project.  Below is my step-by-step how-to.

What You’ll Need:

-White cardstock paper for the front cover

-Cardstock paper in your choice of color for the back cover (I used green)

-Two large book rings

-Hole punch (I used 2 holes of a 3-hole punch, but a single-hole punch works too)

For the front, print out the cover I made by clicking here: Christmas Card Scrapbook Printable. Cut around the edges right up to the red color. Then cut the piece of cardstock for the back cover the same size. {Note about the front cover printable: for mine I printed the years on there but for the printable I did a tree design. For yours, you can either write the year on the cover or a sticker with a black Sharpie, or I will even make you a new one if you email me.

Christmas Card Scrapbook

If you have a laminating machine, laminate both front and back covers with fairly thick laminate.  If not, take the covers to Office Depot and ask to have them laminated (it’s very inexpensive). Afterwards, trim both down with scissors to the size of the red area front cover printable.

Stack all your Christmas cards in the order you want them to appear in your little book, then punch two holes in each. I do save Christmas letters and I fold them right up and punch holes just like the cards. Depending on the shape and size of the card, they will be turned different ways, and stick out above or below the covers. This is okay because in the end it makes the book look more interesting!

Punch two holes in the front and back covers. For fold over cards, go right ahead and punch holes through both pieces. Insert the rings into all the cards and covers and you’re done! Mine hold about 60 cards, which is a lot but will still work. You will just need to insert the front half of the book on the left side of the open rings face down, and the second half of the book on the right of the open rings face up,  close the rings then bring the book together. Make sure to lock the rings in place or you’ll be playing 52-card pickup.

Store your creation with all your other Christmas decorations. The rings are sturdy enough to even hang on hooks, which is the perfect way to store them.

So far I have 5 years’worth of these colorful little treasures. During the Christmas season I lay out the past year’s on the cocktail table. They are a great conversation starter.

Tune in next year to see if aunt Bertha is still wearing the same tacky Christmas sweater!

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Clothespin Halloween Bats

4 Halloween Crafts for Your Goblins

It doesn’t matter the holiday, kids always want to do crafts. So do I. Your goblins will love these 4 easy and oh-so-spooky Halloween projects!

1. Haunted Popsicle Stick House

Popsicle Stick Haunted House

Happily Ever After

Materials:

Directions:

1. Roof: To start, line up 20 popsicle sticks and glue five sticks in perpendicular fashion to
provide support. Repeat to make the other side of the roof. Support beams may be placed for
added decoration.

2. Front: To make the front of the house use ten popsicle sticks with two glued in perpendicular
fashion to provide support. Cut another ten sticks to size to allow space for a doorway. (I
recommend using heavy duty scissors because you’d likely break your regular scissors.) Two
sticks can be used for door framing.

3. Back: Similarly to make the back use ten popsicle sticks. cut the sticks to size to make the
window. to provide support use three sticks (two at the edges and one in the middle) glued in
perpendicular fashion. Add small popsicle sticks (or you can cut regular popsicle sticks) to make
the frame of the window.

4. Sides: Use ten uncut regular length popsicle sticks and glue two in perpendicular fashion to
provide support. if you prefer sides with windows, cut the middle four popsicle sticks to
desired window size. As above, add small popsicle sticks (or you can cut regular popsicle sticks)
to make the frame of the window.

5. Put the sides, the front, and back together one at a time and glue the edges. Hold until the
glue dries. Finally place the roof on and glue in place, and we are done!

There is a lot of room for creativity in this project, by adding all kinds of decorations or even little candy pumpkins. The less perfect it is, the more haunted it looks. Win, win!

Popsicle Stick Haunted House

Happily Ever After

2. Clothespin Button Bats

Clothespin Halloween Bats

I Heart Crafty Things

Materials:

Directions:

1. Start by adding a line of tacky glue down the front of your clothespin. Then add buttons onto
the glue. Try not to let the buttons hang over the ends of the clothespin or they won’t be able to
stand up properly.

2. Cut out bat wings from your black cardstock paper. To make my wings I folded by black
cardstock in half and drew half of a wing along the folded edge. Then when I cut it out, I
unfolded my paper and had two full wings.

3. Add a line of glue down the center of your bat wings and glue it onto the back of your
clothespin. Once your glue is dry you can play with your bats.

Idea: These look great (and scary!) hanging from curtains!

3. Bubble Paint Monsters

Bubble Paint Monsters

Made to Be a Momma

Directions:

1. Add about 2 tablespoons of paint into a small plastic cup with 2 tablespoons of dish soap to
each color. Then add 1/2 cup of water to each color. The measurements don’t have to be exact.

2.Once your paint mixture is completely mixed together, carefully blow into the paint to create
bubbles. You know…the kind of bubbles we all blew in our milk and then got scolded about.
This step is not for small children. Make sure your children know how to properly blow into the
straw without accidentally getting the paint mixture in their mouth. If your children are too
little, you can blow the bubbles for them.

3.If you are using a piece of cardstock you can just lay the piece of paper carefully on top of the bubbles.                                  If you use a canvas, pick up the bubbles with a straw and push them around on the
canvas. Be careful not to move the bubbles around too much. You want to be able to get that
pretty bubble look on your art piece.

4. Once your artwork has completely dried, decorate it! We made our little splashes of color
into friendly monsters. Draw legs and arms and add googly eyes or whatever you have in hand.

Idea: Once Halloween is over you can remove the eyes and have year-round, because it looks like a beautiful water color!

4. Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe

Pumpkin Tic Tac Toe

Project Kid

I saved this one for last because it’s my favorite and the easiest!

Materials:

Directions:

1. Wash and dry the pumpkins (if real)

.
2. On five of the pumpkins, paint “X” with either white or black paint. On the other five, paint
“O” in the other color. You can paint the stem too if there is one! Allow to dry.

3. With painter’s tape (my favorite is Frog Tape), make a Tic Tac Toe board on the floor/counter and have fun!

Have a spooky time making these with your little goblins!

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

Happy Easter! I posted this a few years ago and am recycling it while we are all at home.

————–

Kids love Easter and our little bunnies are no exception. They are still little, but I wanted their Easter baskets to be something special. I happened upon these bright buckets at Lowe’s one day (for about $6 each) and knew they would be perfect to hold all the treasures the Easter Bunny would bring this year. {Update: Similar buckets can be found here.}

The lady at the checkout counter looked at me incredulously when I told her why I was buying the buckets. She remarked that I would have to get a “lot of toys and candy to fill up those things.” Little did she know that they would be filled with mostly “grass”! {Sidenote: I hate to admit she was right, but these really were a tad too big!}

I lined the buckets with “grass” made from brightly colored cardstock paper that was run through our industrial-sized shredder at work (it makes crinkle-cut shreds). You can also make small quantities of paper with small shredders from office-supply stores. As you’ll see in just a moment, we had enough grass to plant a small yard, which I would not recommend unless you plan to single-handedly bring back multi-colored shag.

I filled the “baskets” with lots of fun items from the $1 section at Target (I even managed to squeak by this year without including any candy…don’t worry, they had plenty from friends & family!). I cut out colorful flowers and glued them onto paint stirrers (also from Lowe’s) to add a bit of height to the baskets. Our kids used them as wands and rakes to scoop up their grass. They became somewhat dangerous as the day wore on so they were retired to the “later” pile (the wands, not the kids).

After church we went out for Easter lunch and the cutest centerpieces were on our table. What fun to put Peeps and jelly beans in the vases! They didn’t last long…our kids took one look at them and the Peeps were history within minutes. So much for the no-candy Easter!

Our three-year-old got a haircut on Good Friday and his hairdresser (yes, he already has a hairdresser) surprised him with this cute-as-a-button homemade bunny cake. It was as delicious as it was pretty. I had a hard time making it out of the parking lot without biting off an ear. Don’t think the kids wasted any time in getting to know this wabbit weally well!

Egg-coloring (real) and hunting (plastic) was big at our house this year. I’ve never seen a prettier bunch of eggs than this, the first-ever batch colored by my little rabbit fu fu’s (when I was younger I used to recite that riddle over and over, standing on my grandparents’ hearth. Maybe I was doing a rain dance of sorts and didn’t know it, since I ended up with so many rabbits?).

A tiny part (and I do mean tiny) of our Easter grass explosion, or tumbleweed, as depicted here. Honestly the kids loved the grass more than any of the other toys, proving once again that the packaging is often better than the product. As they say, the grass is always greener.

 

 

Vintage Brooch Necklace

Easy DIY Spring Necklace

All dressed up and nowhere to go?  Use the extra time to make an easy, unique necklace to dress up a t-shirt now or wear to a party later this summer. It’s always a good idea to keep looking your best, so you’ll feel your best, even if nothing’s open and there aren’t any events planned (at least for the time being)!

I bet most of us have two things needed to make a necklace in less than 3 minutes: a chain and a brooch (aka pin). Or if you don’t, then your mom, aunt or grandmother has these items. With these two items you can make a necklace in no time flat.

Vintage Brooch Necklace

My favorite vintage brooch, an oversized bright & cheery yellow flower.

Vintage Brooch Necklace

Choose a simple or decorative chain; short or long. There’s no right or wrong!

Simply thread the chain through the pin backing on the brooch. Make certain that the pin itself is locked securely or the brooch could slide off.

Vintage Brooch Necklace

 

Vintage Brooch Necklace

This statement piece is all you need to complete your outfit and inject a little sunshine!

Vintage brooches are easy to find and fairly inexpensive, if you or yours don’t have any in your jewelry box. Check out eBay, Etsy, antique stores, yard sales and flea markets. Options range from bright flowers to chic rhinestones.

Vintage Brooches

Some of my own vintage brooches, collected from both of my grandmothers, eBay & yard sales. I especially like the enamel flowers, and the little green dragonfly always catches my eye. 

Have fun with it! You’re guaranteed to have a necklace that’s one-of-a-kind.

 

Bathroom Makeover

The Green Bathroom Makeover

OUR ST. PATTY’S DAY BATHROOM. 
 
Somehow this ended up being the only green thing in our house, unless you count the grass outside. We always referred to it as the “green bathroom” (still do) and it’s the first one you come to when we get home, right by the back door. So after school the kids are always yelling out “I call the green bathroom!” and “No I call it!”, as if running upstairs to their own would take so much longer.
Bathroom Makeover
 
I loved it for quite a while. And I still love the actual bathroom layout. But then I started not loving it so much except for the zebra mirror over the sink.
 
Last year I embarked on a complete overhaul. The walls were sort of like stucco so they had to be scraped down. I decided to go with a navy & white color scheme, since basically I’m slowly switching everything to those colors!
Bathroom Makeover
 
The pendant light remained (in addition to the original silver ceiling). It’s one of my best finds, from Round Top in Texas. It was covered in mud but cost only $30. I toted it home, cleaned it up and spray painted the chain and other hardware silver. Now it’s a bright beacon at this end of the house.
 
The cabinet became navy with gold drawer pulls, and my sweet friend Terry at Fabric Etc. in Bristol sourced this fabulous wallpaper for me!
Bathroom Makeover
 
I decided to cover the whole wall behind the sink with a mirror and changed out the sconces to dangly capiz shell lights from Shades of Light. The wall-to-wall mirror really opens things up and gives the entire space a blingy effect! From the hall you can spy the family caricatures on the opposite wall, which we had done a couple years ago on a visit to The Greenbrier.
Bathroom Makeover
 
I wasn’t sure of what to do with the zebra mirror. It definitely wasn’t right after the makeover but I wanted it back up. So I painted it the same blue as the cabinets and then painted my version of the wallpaper on the sides. At first it felt too busy. I admit I had to live with it for a while & get opinions from friends before I finally opted to keep it up. I’m so glad I did!
Bathroom Makeover
 
I especially love the look now from down the hall; even though I officially have nothing green in my house to celebrate this day with. But it makes everyone who walks by smile! Oh, and the itty bitty leprechaun-size cowhide rug is a little surprise!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall!

My children’s school, Sullins Academy, recently held its annual auction to benefit the school. This is the school’s biggest fundraiser and there was no shortage of work done by the students, teachers and moms. Each class has an art project for the live auction and I was in charge of the 3-year-old class (after all, I do have 3 of the 10 toddlers in the class!).

The goal of the project is to do something creative, have each child participate and sell (you hope) to a parent at a high price! I decided to do a mirror surrounded by handpainted tiles fired in the kiln at our local ceramics studio, Kil’n Time (a big thank you to the owners, who graciously donated all the supplies).

All of the classes had amazing art projects, but I must say I am especially proud of Mrs. Oliver’s class for doing such a wonderful job! Here is the finished mirror (and my reflection, snapping the photo!):

First, I painted a border around the tiles the kids were to paint, along with each child’s name. Then they painted whatever they wanted on the tiles. Mrs. Oliver painted a tile too.

Next, I took pictures of each child (and Mrs. O.), traced them on a tile, and painted a background. Kil’n Time used a special technique to fire the photos in a sepia tone on the tiles. I painted a couple of filler tiles with the school and class name, and voila, we had a finished product that went for $1,200 at the auction! Ok…I must admit that my dad was the one who bought it, but still there were many bidders driving up the price!

I also donated 18 pairs of earrings for the silent auction. Last I checked they were going for around $900, which made me very happy!

I displayed them on this enormous box that almost didn’t fit on the silent auction tables. Covered in turquoise burlap (fun but messy) and leopard ribbon, it has an artsy sphere made out of chicken wire at the top.

Before we put the tiles on the mirror, Jackson helped me paint the frame.

His t-shirt may not have helped the Cowboys win, but Sullins definitely won at the auction!

Anger Management Tree Stump

I’m not quite sure what purpose this tree stump once held. Hundreds of nails have been hammered into its top. They are so far down in the stump they form a top that’s as smooth as satin.

The little stump’s final resting place is now our corporate museum, which means it originally resided on a girls’ college campus. I can only imagine how it came to be: were the girls so angry about something that they took turns hammering nails into the stump? Boys, grades, professors?

Was the project part of an old-school P.E. class (like the modern-day “rage rooms”?) Perhaps would-be suitors drove the nails into the tree while taking out their frustrations on an unrequited love or disdainful house marm.

I suppose we may never know. Until then I think I’ll sit here a while and read my anger management book.

 

Vintage Daffodils

Are there such things as vintage flowers? I’m sure of it. My mom’s mom’s mom (that would be my great-grandmother Ocie!) planted beautiful daffodils around her house decades ago, long before I was born. They’re still blooming there today, even though the house is now gone. She died in 1967, just one month before I was born, so I’d say that’s quite a green thumb.

Even more amazing is the fact that some of the same daffodils were transplanted to my mom’s yard and are thriving (in fact, multiplying). They look so cheery in the photos I took this spring. My uncle David, who now owns my great-grandmother’s property, brought some to my mom years ago. He gave me a few as well and they look bright and colorful. I plan to have him plant even more when we move into our new house.

I’ve always wanted to go to the Nantucket Daffodil Festival, held every April. Apparently over three million daffodils bloom on the island in season. That’s roughly 300 daffodils per resident of the tiny island! The festival’s main event is the parade, during which 100 antique cars are bedecked with daffodils.

As much as I’d love to see those three gazillion daffodils, I think my great-grandmother’s vintage flowers are special enough for a festival of their own.

Before & After Bench

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to transform a piece of furniture. All you need is a willingness to dig around in antique stores or flea markets and a little elbow grease.

I purchased this loveseat (I say “loveseat,” you say “settee”) at an antique store for about $60. The woven cane back was a shabby tan before but I spray painted it gold. Spray paint can be used for so many projects and comes in great colors! I’ve used it to paint our outdoor wrought iron railing, our mailbox, wicker outdoor furniture and more. You can even get chalkboard paint that you can spray right onto your wall!

I also gave the arms and legs a lift by first painting them gold with a brush, after lightly sanding. Over top of that I painted everything a dark umber color. In between those two steps I rubbed certain areas with wax, areas where wear and tear is likely to occur and where I wanted the gold to pop. After the top coat of paint, I then lightly sanded the waxed areas and ta-da! The gold glittered through the brown. To finish I put a sealer on the wood.

A few yards of relatively inexpensive fabric took the bench from blah to wow, with the help of two pillows in a coordinating fabric and fringe trim.

This loveseat cost about $40 at a second-hand store and it simply needed a few yards of fabric to make it spiffy.

Just about right for two lovebirds.

 

Vintage Theatre Curtains

We stumbled upon a great find for our corporate museum. On the college campus where our offices are located, there was a theatre (circa 1972), called the Humanities Center, that was used for community productions. Sadly, it had fallen into disrepair over the years and despite our asking around, even the city couldn’t take it over, due to high maintenance costs. Alas, we had to tear it down. So we set about salvaging every last item from the theatre that we possibly could. What a fun project (at least I thought so!)!

I have to say I was the only one of our “salvage group” who thought twice about saving the stage curtains. “Too musty,” “too dirty,” everyone said. Nonsense! They were beautiful velvet and simply could not be thrown away for such trivial reasons! There were two layers of curtains: red velvet and royal blue velvet. The red curtains were in much better shape; while I desperately wanted to save the blue, it just wasn’t possible.

We took the curtains down on a sunny day and spread them out on one of the long driveways on campus. We had decided that they would serve as valances on some of our larger museum windows, and they needed to be cut to size. Astonishingly, the curtains had seams in the exact spot where we needed to trim, which made our job infinitely easier. They did not even need to be hemmed! We laid them out, sprinkled carpet cleaner and Febreze on them, and spent an entire Saturday vacuuming them.

The uses for the curtains proved to be much more abundant than we had first predicted. Not only did they yield wonderful valances for all of the major museum rooms, they also produced skirts for underneath the bathroom sinks, a tree skirt for our annual Christmas tree and long curtains for other rooms. We even tacked fabric on the ends of the curtains for makeshift trim (the fabric was pinned on…see this post for another idea using crazy quilts).

Next time you’re not sure if you can salvage something, just remember it’s never too late for another curtain call.